Thursday, November 22, 2007

by request: something really, really gross

fast trees 2
on the way to Stapl-B-Gon

This morning, one week after my back surgery, I went to have the staples in my back removed. In my usual life, I have the staples removed from a copy of a report on festival income generated in the UK, or maybe arts policy in Newfoundland & Labrador. But these days I'm not leading my usual life - it's the life where the staples end up in my body instead of paper. When did my courses in literary theory turn so literal?

A word of caution - some of these images (captured by Das Schmutz, natch), when I took the time to stare at them, made me want to throw up. This is wounded flesh and surgical metal, after all. But if you possess a gag reflex of steel, keep reading. And a big thank you to That Girl, who took us to the clinic and roamed the city with us afterwards.

One of the unexpected bonuses of living where I do is that I had to travel only half a block and around the corner to get from the hospital to my apartment. Easy peasy Portuguesey. The magic land of Stapl-B-Gon, though, where all the staple removal fairies cavort, is a building in the south end of the city with a combination Subway/TCBY through one door and a Domino's Pizza through another. You must choose wisely when you approach. Furthermore, the building is hugged by a Burger King and a Tim Hortons Coffee. Apparently this is also where you go to get fat and die on the sidewalk.

I am waiting with my walker for a call to the back, where the nurse with her remover will tear my staples out:

staples removal 1

Pretty nice, huh? Just hanging out in the waiting room and Ahhhhfourinchcrustystapledwoundaaaahh —

staples removal 2

Staple removal machine (as sung by The Cult):

staples removal 3

If you look carefully - and why would you do such a thing? - you'll see that the nurse started by removing every other staple. The sensation of the removal was like the scratching of a deep, burning itch. It felt like each piece of metal was being flung out of my body.

The nurse was mighty obliging, and even shifted position to allow Schmutzie access to my gross, disgusting wound.

staples removal 4
Give us a smile for the camera. Okay, be that way then.

Lost little staples, like poisoned birds littering the beach.

staples removal 5

And now, even though this sort of thing is what the internet is for, let us never look at this entry again.


Schmutzie said...

I love that the nurse didn't even look at me funny when started leaning in for shots at every stage of removal.

Abigail Road said...

Hey! That's the place where I got my staples out. Man, I hope I never have to get staples out again. I'll take stitches any day.

witchypee said...

It looks like you still need stitches after the staple removals.
Or duct tape.
Did it hurt?
I think I have to go to the bathroom now.

Shelley said...

I was looking at the lovely sad poisoned bird staples and feeling slightly melancholy until my eyes refocussed and they suddenly became misshapen cartoon bums.

Much better.

Ada said...

I think you definately need duct tape, or super glue. That wound doesn't actually look like it was ready for the staples to come out. Glad Schmutzie was there to capture such a beautiful moment for us all!

sgazzetti said...

That is exactly why they invented the internet. But I have to say: I like the on-the-way photo best.

Birchsprite said...

See if that was my wound... I would be itching it right now....itchy itch itchy.

But then I'm gross.

reddirtroad said...

I have never had staples or even stitches for that matter, but I imagine that would be so itchy. Glad the recovery is going well.

Anonymous said...

My dog just had the same kind of staples removed. And the vet used the same remover tool. And they looked the same post-removal, only sprinkled on the floor.

I don't know why it should surprise me. Did I expect the dog to get inferior staples? Did I expect human staples to come in gold?

Your wound looks tidier, though. They must use golden scalpels for humans and butter knives for dogs.


Betsey C. said...

Wow, just wow! Fascinating. What are all the little wounds scattered around near the bottom of the main wound? Was someone shooting at you with a pellet gun during surgery? What the heck goes on in operating rooms up there in the Great White North?

All kidding aside -- you seem to be a very good patient. Best wishes for your continued recovery.

Theresa said...

I will never not be able to look at these pictures again. They really are gorgeous. Did you keep the staples? Those wounded birds need tender loving care.

palinode said...

schmutzie - I think the nurse was happy to get a couple of interesting and talkative people in there. To judge from the people in the waiting room, I bet they get a lot of gloomy Gusses in there.

abigail road - Yay! We're staple siblings, we are.

witchypee - Nope, no stitches, just a bandage for the next little while. It did not hurt to have the staples removed - it actually felt really satisfying. And as soon as the staples came out, the itching stopped.

shelley - Cartoon bums? Are you saying that I had a bunch of little cartoon bums sitting just above my real bum? That would be handy.

ada - It doesn't look pretty, but apparently it was time for the staples to come out. The nurse first removes every other staple, and if the incision doesn't look right, she leaves the rest in and the patient comes back a week or so later.

sgazzetti - I agree. I'm glad Schmutzie took such a beautiful photo on the way.

birchsprite & reddirtroad - There's no itchiness left, sad to say. I had a good time scratching at the bandage, but as soon as the staples came out, the itching stopped.

anonymous Monica - Dog bodies, human bodies - we're all just bodies, I guess. I bet your dog was happy to get them out - no more itching. When are we going out for drinks?

betsey C. - those little scattered wounds are marks from the bandage that I wore for a week. There was a guy with a shotgun in the room smoking a stogie, but he never used the gun. He just kept coughing. The nurse didn't even acknowledge his presence.

theresa - I will pass on your photo compliments to Schmutzie. I did not keep the staples; as soon as the little machine unhooked from my skin, they became medical waste. And in this Communist country, you can't take medical waste home from clinics, damn them all.

i am the diva said...


Ozma said...

Oh, I'm going to be looking at this post EVERY DAY.

I'm downloading the photos into a desktop screensaver even as we speak.

wench said...

actually - those are pretty cool brother - but it sucks that if the suregery was around L4/5 we didn't get any crack shots ;) damn that schmutzie, keeping them all to herself!

take care of you!

Anonymous said...

These photos don't gross me out. My husband had something just like it after his brain surgery. It was on his neck and the scar still makes him look like that's where his zipper belongs ~ you know, the one that allows him to slip out of his skin whenever he wants.

I'm glad you are all sealed up and healing.